Authors are getting smarter and avoiding publishing scams.
On Dec. 31, 2015, a small blurb in Publishers Weekly announced that Penguin Random House sold its Author Solutions division to a private investment firm.
Author Solutions is a major subsidy publisher and is the parent company of AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, Wordclay, Xlibris and Booktango. Author Solutions also partners with other major publishers by operating their subsidy publisher imprints: Archway Publishing (Simon & Schuster); Balboa Press (Hay House); LifeRich Publishing (Reader’s Digest) and WestBow Press (Thomas Nelson & Zondervan).
When I interviewed self-publishing consultant and editorial project manager Marla Markman for the Conversations ebook Get Your Book Published: How to Choose Between Self-publishing, Traditional Publishing or Pay-to-publish Options, she had a lot to say about subsidy publishers in general and AuthorHouse (owned by Author Solutions) in particular—and none of it was good.
“Subsidy publishers really don’t want to sell your book. They just want to take money from you.” – Marla Markman
A considerable portion of our conversation focused on how to avoid getting ripped off by publishing scammers.
Marla is not the only Author Solutions critic—there are many publishing consultants who have courageously spoken up about poor quality and horribly over-priced add-on services from this and other subsidy publishers. I learned about this sale by reading “Tangled Web They Weave Time with Publishing Scammers,” a blog by Judith Briles, a book publishing expert and coach, who is a great resource for authors and independent publishers.
I don’t know if Penguin Random House decided to divest itself of this subsidy publishing division on integrity grounds or if it was a simple business decision because of declining revenue, and I don’t care enough to try to find out. What pleases me is that a subsidy publisher with a lousy reputation is no longer able to attract author/clients with its affiliation with a major traditional publishing house.
Maybe Author Solutions’ new owner, Najafi Companies, will insist on some positive changes. We’ll see.
She is the author of Words to Work By: 31 devotions for the workplace based on the Book of Proverbs and Finding Joy in the Morning: You can make it through the night. She is also the co-creator of several coloring books for adults.